Book 4: Act 2 - A Scattered Fellowship

It is the year 2946 of the Third Age, and the lands east of the Misty Mountains are astir. From the cloud-shrouded peaks above the High Pass to the spider-infested gloom of the forest of Mirkwood, paths long-deserted are trodden once again. Busy merchants carry their wares to new markets, messengers bring tidings from foreign realms, and kings send forth armed men to extend their influence and the rule of law. Some say that a new age of freedom has begun, a time for adventure and great deeds to reclaim glories lost in long centuries of oppression and decline.

But adventures are not really things that people go out and look for. They are dangerous and rarely end well. While it is true that a handful of valiant individuals set out to make their mark on the world, for others it seems that adventure chooses them, as though it is the path they are fated to tread. They are restless warriors, curious scholars and wanderers, always eager to seek what was lost or explore what was forgotten. Ordinary people call them adventurers, and when they return successful, they call them heroes. But if they fail, no one will even remember their names...

Run by the Loremaster Vardaen
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Book 4: Act 2 - A Scattered Fellowship

Post by Vardaen » Fri Nov 27, 2015 4:55 pm

Image There was a breath of air and a noise of wind, but it had a sad sound. A few leaves came rustling down to remind them that outside autumn was coming on. Their feet ruffled among the dead leaves of countless other autumns that drifted over the banks of the path from the deep red carpets of the forest.

- The Hobbit, Ch 8, Flies and Spiders


September 12th, 2948, The Third Age, Autumn

The Fellowship is scattered over the course of the summer. Aerth has gone to the Woodmen, Finn and Tom have returned to Lake-town. The elves returned to the Woodland Realm while Borir has remained at the Easterly Inn with Pipkin. It is a fair summer, with good weather, and plenty of news. You spy the Grey Pilgrim wandering Wilderland in all your various locations. Gandalf comes from Rhosgobel through Woodland Hall and then the Beorning lands, and spends a few nights at the Easterly Inn before heading east to the Woodland Realm. From there is moves on to Lake-town and north to Erebor. He moves with purpose from place to place, spending time with the leaders of each land, and you catch glimpses of him, some even spending a bit of time with the old wizard.

Spring has turned to summer, and summer moves toward autumn....
Welcome to the Fellowship Phase for Book 4! You guys have had late spring, summer, and moving into Autumn for this phase. I have a plan for getting folks back into the adventure phase that will start in Woodland Realm and roll us west picking people up as we go, so feel free to just have your FP take place in your home towns like where you are.
"He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom." - Gandalf
J.R.R. Tolkien, Council of Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Muskrat
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Book 4: Act 2 - A Scattered Fellowship

Post by Muskrat » Fri Nov 27, 2015 7:16 pm

Varuthil is glad to be able to spend some leisurely time back in her homeland. Last time she was here, she was on a mission to persuade King Thranduil to support the Woodmen in battle. Now she has no such pressing need and can take her ease, at least as much as she ever does. The first thing she does is visit her foster parents and pay her respects to them. Though she has never outgrown the grief of the loss of her blood parents, still she loves and is grateful to her foster parents.

Varuthil does her best to take advantage of what is offered by King Thranduil's court. With all the battle she has seen, she wants to better learn to use her sword, for at least once she has been caught in hand-to-hand combat and been unable to use her bow. Thus, she takes fencing lessons from the sword masters of the Woodland Realm. She also visits the Realm's loremasters, telling them of the creeping presence of the Shadow, including the eerie head even Radagast and Gandalf were unable to identify. While not as learned as the loremasters of the Grey Havens or Lothlorien, to see nothing of Rivendell, they still knew much. Sometimes, they hosted formal debates to sharpen their skills. Varuthil was allowed to take part in some of these, sharpening her skills of persuasion, sometimes even managing to win an argument against the older and wiser loremasters.
Increase Sword and Persuasion skills
Still, Varuthil is at heart a loner. She spends much of her time wandering alone in the woods. Wary of the growing Shadow, she stays well within the areas protected by Thranduil's guards and sharpens her senses to remain alert as she walks. As she does so, she looks for herbs that might be useful when she rejoins her companions and sets back out on the road. She also speaks with the trees, rocks, streams and beasts of the wood, familiarizing herself with them in a new way, now that she can speak with them in a way she could not last time she was free to wander in Mirkwood.
Change Secretive Trait for Wary
Collect Herbs

The use of The Speakers Virtue is just flavor text.

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Book 4: Act 2 - A Scattered Fellowship

Post by Blubbo_Baggins » Mon Nov 30, 2015 11:27 pm

Finn was thankful for the chance to visit the Easterly Inn again, albeit briefly. He intended to return in the Winter and stay, to try to help grow his investment in the Inn. In the meantime he enjoyed Pipkin's pies.

Not many days later he and Tom (along with Varuthil and Wren) continued their journey, finding the Elf-Path and slowly making their way through the depths of Mirkwood. The trek was long, but with two well-traveled men and the Elves who were always light of foot, they made good time. Wisely sticking to the path they traveled without incident.

At the place where their paths diverged, Finn and Varuthil spoke more about when they might meet for the return journey. Finn said he was sure his father would have business for him to conduct with the Raft Elves anyway, and that he would come to Thranduil's halls and would meet them there. "I would not mind spending a few days there, it has been now one year since I was in the Halls of Elrond, and I miss it very much. I hope that in the Halls of the Elvenking I will bring some of my memories of Imladris to life again."

--

Finn and Tom continued to Esgaroth without stopping the night in the Woodland Realm. Upon coming to his home in the merchant's quarters his mother Gudrun was completely shocked, as she had not heard from him in a very long time. After her surprise, and scolding for his lack of communication, she welcomed him and Tom and fed them. Soon thereafter his father Winaelf walked in and might have had a heart attack, had he not heard his son's voice through the door. Their reunion was a warm and happy one. Finn introduced Tom by way of sharing the story of the company's adventures over the last two years. He apologized to his father for not having yet secured a good source of lumber, admitting that he was in fact spending most of his time on the wrong side of the forest, but promised he would build up good relationships with the Woodmen, to learn if there might be some who had settled in the Eastern Bight, where Finn might set up a more direct trade. In the meantime, however, he talked about his investment in the Easterly Inn and his plans to help it grow.

"I'll have you come with me in a few days to the Raft Elves, Finn," said Winaelf. "Tensions have cooled a bit since you left, but lumber from the safe parts of the forest is strictly regulated. The Elves still trust the Wyngard family name, but it won't be that way forever. The only man guaranteed a supply of lumber is King Bard, and only a small portion of that is for the Master of the Lake. If our town and the city of Dale continue to grow, the Elves will be unwilling to supply for the needs."
"I don't see how I can help much father," replies Finn. "While the Raft Elves know me, I have not been among them for years. They know you best."
"You are right, but I am getting old. And you share their love of music. In fact, you mentioned having a few new friends among them who are NOT Raft Elves. That might be very important, because the Raft Elves ultimately answer to King Thranduil, but they do not spend much time in his court. Perhaps you can . . . use those connections well, if you know what I mean."
"Father, I have only one friend who is not a Raft Elf - the other is Wren, whom you know. But Varuthil, I will not use her friendship for business means. Nevertheless, I was hoping for a chance to visit them; I would be glad to do what I could to be an ambassador for us."
"Now see here!" Gudrun broke in. "You just got here and you're talking about already leaving! My cooking is not good enough for you hmm!?"

--

Finn stayed a full week around Laketown, reconnecting with old friends and business partners, while Winaelf put Tom to work, using his ability to read and write to send messages, edit contracts, and conduct other business. Soon after, Finn and Winaelf concluded it was time for him to visit the Elves, and so he took a boat and headed up the River Running to the Halls of Thranduil.

Along the way he turned his boat toward shore to make camp when the current pulled him down unfamiliar branch of the river. He found himself in a deep pool, shaded by beech trees on all sides, with the water carpeted by beautiful, white water-lilies. Finn collected a few, first for his mother, but kept behind a couple just in case.
"Collected" Marsh Herbs, found White Water-Lilies
White Water-Lily
A beautiful floating plant with oval leaves and white or yellow flowers, the Water-lily is found wherever the Forest River and the River Running slow their courses in winding loops, but it is not encountered under the shade of Mirkwood at all. Its flowers open in all their beauty only by midday, to close again when evening approaches. Water-lilies are collected as decoration, and placed in bowls filled with water or woven into garlands. A drink prepared using flowers and petals of white Water-lilies induces a fortifying sleep, while the rare red Water-lily is said to reinforce the fighting spirit.
--

The Raft Elves warmly welcomed Finn as he passed by their waters. But he didn't intend to stay or trade with them; they conversed some and he shared his desire to visit a friend or two, and to see the King's Halls.

He was welcomed by Wren and Varuthil, who had found a small guest room for him. Growing up in his family business, Finn had learned to converse in the Sylvan tongue, but as he had not used it for a few years the ability had become quite rusty. Being among a folk whose beauty and grace was perhaps overwhelming - ornately decorated halls and elegant manners - Finn began to feel worried his lack of courtesy would soon show. But his concerns were unfounded, for his worries were soon forgotten the moment he sat to listen to the minstrels sing. Time seemed to pass without notice and in just a few days Finn was able to feel comfortable in the Elves' tongue once more.

Indeed, as he hoped, his memories of Imladries were reawakened, and as his thoughts considered the Eldar and re-learned things he had forgotten in the Hall of Fire, his countenance seemed to grow more noble.
Switched Specialty "Rhymes of Lore" for "Elven-lore (Sylvan)" and Increased Courtesy
"Varuthil, I will come back again soon, perhaps in a few weeks. I must again return home to my mother, she will be wanting to see more of me before we go for who knows how long. But either way, we ought to depart for the Easterly Inn in time to arrive for Autumn." Before their conversation is over, Finn tells Varuthil of the lumber situation and the things his father hoped he could accomplish. He admits he doesn't expect much, but that he wanted to tell her anyway.

--

At the end of summer, Finn met Varuthil on the Elf Path, and the two of them headed back to the heart of Wilderland. With so many miles under his belt, Finn felt stronger than he ever had in his life, and hoped he was more prepared for the long journeys to come.
Raised Wisdom, took Resilience to increase Endurance; Tom continues to act as Finn's page for the adventure, helping with Insight and Courtesy; Changed Fellowship Focus from Wren to Varuthil

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Book 4: Act 2 - A Scattered Fellowship

Post by Shurijo » Tue Dec 01, 2015 3:56 pm

Borir returned to the Easterly Inn to check on Mister Baggins, Freir, and the others. As the dwarf made his return, he found Freir and the two began chopping trees for firewood to keep the inn warm over next year. The green wood would take a season to dry out, but it's better to be prepared for next year's winter than to be ill prepared.

As the dwarf mingled at the inn, he's rough demeanor gave way when a group of traveling dwarves passed through. His attitude towards elves and men became a little less coarse as he spent more time around Finn and the others.

During the night, the pair of dwarves worked in the small smith to repair and create hinges, tools, and even simple cookware for the inn. Hoping to make some profit, the dwarven duo also created some hand axes, buckles, and other useful tools that passing through adventurers might purchase.
increased courtesy and axes

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Book 4: Act 2 - A Scattered Fellowship

Post by Muskrat » Tue Dec 01, 2015 9:34 pm

Varuthil gives Finn one of her rare smiles and says, "It was good to have you here, however briefly. I'm afraid I'm a scholar--and now a bit of a wanderer--who knows little of business matters. My foster father--my uncle Eällandor--however is an envoy for King Thranduil, including to the Men of Dale. I could introduce you to him. He will, of course, look out for the interests of the Woodland Realm first and foremost, but he may give a sympathetic ear to one of my companions."

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Book 4: Act 2 - A Scattered Fellowship

Post by Blubbo_Baggins » Tue Dec 01, 2015 10:03 pm

Finn breathes deeply at Varuthil's offer, "That would be far more than I could have expected. Thank you. My father's desire is not to get a competitive edge in our business, but simply to ensure the supply remains as stable as can be, until we secure ourselves an alternative source. We would simply hope that we could all work together to ensure a fear of scarcity does not cause the merchants to buy up what lumber there is, or Thranduil to suddenly cut all contracts except King Bard's. I would be glad to share these things with Eällandor, at least that it might be on his mind."

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Book 4: Act 2 - A Scattered Fellowship

Post by Muskrat » Wed Dec 02, 2015 11:21 pm

Varuthil says, "Then stay a few days longer and I will speak to my foster father about meeting with you."
I'll leave it to V's discretion how Eällandor reacts to this. I don't that we really want to roleplay this out in detail anyway. I certainly don't do RPGs to play Merchants & Moneylenders. Keeping track of my budget is annoying enough in real life.

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Book 4: Act 2 - A Scattered Fellowship

Post by Blubbo_Baggins » Wed Dec 02, 2015 11:24 pm

Agreed. No need to roleplay this out. That is good enough! This lumber business is just background, though I intend if V allows, to have Finn take over the family business as an official Holding...but that won't be for a while. Based on the Holding rules, Finn would need a Valour of 5...

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Book 4: Act 2 - A Scattered Fellowship

Post by Vardaen » Thu Dec 03, 2015 7:33 pm

Finn and Varuthil spend a good amount of time together when Finn comes visiting the Woodland Realm. She takes him to see her foster father, who has much control over the wood that is harvested in Mirkwood. For days Finn and Eällandor sit down and talk business. Its all very general and nothing binding but its a good conversation, a tour of some of the groves, and things have a positive bent to them all the while the two speak. Varuthil is a bit bored with it, so is Tom, so they go wandering a bit getting to know one another better. Tom's a nice guy, simple, but nice.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

At the Easterly Inn Borir and Freir work to help keep trade up, and the place together. Borir lightens up some during it, in regard to men and elves, as they seem to be supporting the place and the old tensions are much less in this area as all people of good heart have to work together to survive the daily struggles of Wilderland.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Aerth continues to make a name for himself among the Woodmen, his win on the Field of Heroes a year ago is still remembered, and his valiant fighting to defend Woodman Hall and most recently at the Old Ford with the Beornings. He almost forgets he's on the edge of the wild for a time, but a craving for some of Pipkin's cobbler, and having run out of pipeweed turns his attention north to the Easterly Inn before summer is fully over.
I think we are good, sort of waiting on an undertaking from Borir - I told Shurijo he can't get himself a war pig to ride like Dain in Hobbit 3, sorry! :P

I'll work on the Adventuring Phase soon.
"He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom." - Gandalf
J.R.R. Tolkien, Council of Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Book 4: Act 2 - A Scattered Fellowship

Post by TetNak » Fri Dec 04, 2015 4:33 pm

Aerth spends time among the Woodmen of Woodland Hall, as well as the Beornings, helping them guard the Old Ford against further intruders and goblins. The man still seems to feel out of place wherever he goes, except on the road with his companions. Knowing Borir will be at the Lonely Inn, Aerth makes his way toward it as summer starts to give way to fall. He says his goodbyes, particularly to Beorn who he respects and frankly, fears. "Goodbye and good health, for you and your people."

Aerth had a feeling Beorn might feel the same way he felt, out of place, alienated. Perhaps not, but Aerth could only assume. In the end days of summer he makes his way north to meet up with old friends once again.
"Kings have no friends, only subjects and enemies."

- King Stannis Baratheon, First of His Name

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